Reader Question: What Do I Do With All of These Old Magazines?

It’s a crime anyone with a magazine subscription is guilty of – magazine stockpiling.  Month over month, and eventually, year over year, magazines roll in, never to roll out -  stuffed in the nooks and crannies because you’re convinced you’ll use them to look up a recipe or re-read an article.

So when reader Christina asked via Twitter, “hey girls! any creative ideas of what to to do with stacks of @NewYorker and @VanityFair magazines? shame to just throw away!” - we knew just what to tell her because we’ve been there before!  There are many really beautiful things you can do with old magazines! You just need to use little creativity and elbow grease. In our research, we came across this article which may provide even more inspiration, but here are just a few favorite things we’ve spied in crafty travels that are easy, fun and pretty.

Frame Them Up: Probably the easiest thing project is to select your favorite covers and carefully cut them away from the rest of the magazines to frame for the wall.  This project works best when you have frames of different shapes, sizes and textures! My hint? Never, ever buy a frame full price.  Instead, go to your local consignment shop, where you can pick up a ton for a dollar or two each.  Don’t even pay attention to color – just look for things that are funky and fun. With just a couple quick coats of spray paint – usually dry within an hour or two – you can make them all a uniform color to match the rest of your decor.  You can frame them evenly, or stagger them like the below to add a little more quirkiness.

Irregular Picture frames (via switcheroom)

DIY Coasters: I think one of the cooler upcycling projects for magazines I’ve ever seen is making coasters out of them! This tutorial from How About Orange seems complicated at first but if you take it slow and one step at a time, they come out nicely!

Image courtesy of How About Orange

Knick Knack Holders: In my apartment, storage is always hard to come by – so I loved the idea of creating some by throwing away. This vase by Izznit (made of her old magazines) is especially easy.  Just cut the magazines pages into strips, and glue them together! Remember to cut them progressively shorter so you can create the funneled look. Or, get really fancy with a little practice like the second image from StyleHive.

Magazine vase via Izznit

Magazine vases via StyleHive

Gift Bows: Finally, if you want to start very small (throwing things out can be hard to do) – start with making some gift bows for presents!  Another tutorial from How About Orange shows how easily they can be put together, with an adorable finished project that looks like this (and notice that if the present is small enough, you can use the pages to wrap too!

Photo via How About Orange

Good luck  Christina! We’d love to see what you do when you’re done!

Why I Craft: Heather Valentine of The Sewing Loft

Starting in September, I am taking a four week basic sewing course to finally really get to learn this incredible art form, which I hate to see getting lost in the world. Now that Project Runway is back on the air, the desire is stronger than ever to learn how to make my own clothes! I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I have put something down in my favorite stores because I’m convinced that with just a little know-how, I could make it myself for a quarter of the price.  Within a few months, I hope to be on track to do this for real!

So with sewing firmly on the brain and a little inspiration needed, I recently reached out to an expert, Heather Valentine of The Sewing Loft.  Heather was kindly introduced to us by Nikki McGonical of Nikki, in Stitches. Heather is the real-deal: an FIT graduate who has spent more than two decades working for top women’s and children’s apparel designers. She’s a member of the American Sewing Guild and Sewing for America. In other words, she’s a bona fide expert on the craft.

Heather Valentine

What I particularly love about Heather is her mission to always use recycled and reclaimed materials in her projects – why spend hundreds of dollars on fabric when you can make something beautiful out of something old?  And lest you think it can’t be done – browse Heather’s Etsy store here and try to restrain yourself from buying every last item for the little ones in your life.  I love her whimsical, playful aesthetic.

I asked Heather why she crafts. I think you, too, will love hearing the peace she derives from her art! She says:

“I craft for peace of mind; I craft for creative outlet; I craft to keep my sense of balance.

Crafting has always been a part of my life, like the common thread through my childhood, young adult stage and now happily ever after.  There is just something about saying the words…’I made this’ with a sense of pride that gets me every time.  You know that feeling you get deep down inside when someone asks where you purchased something they admire?  For me, it is like finding that golden ticket.  While working in the manufacturing world, there was no greater sense of achievement then seeing someone wearing an item I worked on walk down the street.  I would always turn to the person whom I was with and say…’Look, I made that!’  Just seeing the finished product in use makes me smile.

So for me, I craft because it is in my blood.  From grandmother to mother, mother to daughter, this wonderful gift of the lost art of sewing has been passed down through the generations of my family.  It is a skilled blessing that I hope to continue with my girls.”

Isn’t that great? Totally agree that the teaching of sewing to a younger generation is getting lost – but hopefully more people like myself are able to bring it back and teach others.

You can keep up with Heather via her Facebook fan page as well! Find that here. Happy reading :)

Why I Craft: Shannon of Sweet Stella's

One of the best things about being a craft blogger is the genuinely nice people you find in the online crafting community.  We don’t know what it is (maybe only nice people like to craft?) but we’re always so pleased to find friends in the blogosphere who seem like they’d also be great to know in real life.

Through one our faves, Nikki of Nikki, in Stitches, we met Shannon of Sweet Stella’s.  Shannon is a true artist (seriously, she has a degree in it!) who poured her creativity into crafting after she had her son.  We knew she’d make a perfect candidate to tell us what drives her to create and we love how honest she was about how she re-found her passion:

“I craft because it gives me a chance to breathe. It lets me sit back and relax, and become centered in an otherwise really crazy time of my life.

I’m a new mom (my son is currently 11 months old, and a very very busy boy!) so I craft for an opportunity to be me. When I became a mom, I was immediately overwhelmed and began to quickly lose track of who I was…and what was at the center of my core, which is my art. By the time my son was two months old, I had very much lost myself, and had become overwhelmed to the point that I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. My art…my craft…has kept me sane. It has kept me level. And it has provided me opportunities that I could never have dreamed of. Now my work is off to the GBK Productions Gifting suite for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, and who knows what is around the corner after that!”

Don’t you love that?  I thought it was doubly nice to hear about a mom who is so honest about what can happen to you after you have a baby and how she needed to take some time out of each day to tend to her needs.

To see more of Shannon, check out all of her beautiful creations on her Etsy site and keep up with her on Twitter and Facebook!

Why I Craft: Nikki McGonigal of "Nikki, in Stitches"

We’re so happy to introduce a new series on Yay! DIY called “Why I Craft.” In meeting so many talented crafters in person and on the Internet, Erin and I have really enjoyed hearing all the interesting reasons why people craft and make things by hand. It inspired us to try and create a living catalog of all these wonderful snippets and put them in one place.

Image courtesy of Nikki, in Stitches

Our inaugural crafter is Nikki McGonigal of the blog “Nikki, in Stitches.”  We met Nikki through Twitter, where we’ve done everything from swap knitting project ideas to encourage each other to just get through the day.

On her site, Nikki blogs about everything from knitting and sewing to how-to home decor. We love her because her approach to crafting is much the same as our own – find simple, beautiful projects that don’t take a lot of time. When asked why she crafts, Nikki replies:

“I craft because it is my calm away from the storm of chasing two kiddos and one crazy dog around my house all day.  I craft because I’m lucky enough that it financially allows me to chase two kiddos and one crazy dog around my house all day.  I craft because I can vaguely remember life before “mommy”hood, when teaching was my passion, and crafting (and blogging) allows me to still fill that need.  I craft because it reminds me of being a little girl, watching my mother work at her sewing machine.  I craft because it reminds me of my grandmother…I can still see her hands, quietly pulling a needle and thread up and down, through cloth in an embroidery hoop.  I craft because it’s in me, from generations before, and it’s a pleasure and an honor to pass it on to the next.”

Isn’t that beautiful?  Love her!  Check out Nikki’s Facebook fan page here and her to-die-for Etsy shop here.

Eleven Questions for Crafty People: Sherry Petersik of Young House Love

As you might recall, last year we had a blast interviewing some of our favorite DIY’ers with “Eleven Questions” about the perfection of their craft, inspirations, most trusted resources. We’re happy to bring this feature back in 2011, starting wtih with bona fide DIY superstars – Young House Love!

Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love

If you follow DIY, interior decorating or crafting on the Web, no doubt you are familiar with the adorable and awesome story of Sherry and John Petersik.  Having moved from NYC to Virginia, they bought an old house, started sharing their DIY renovations of it on the Web, and it became incredibly popular – and for good reason!  John and Sherry threw themselves into every type of DIY project imaginable – from hosting their own backyard wedding, to painting and trimming baseboards, to fully gutting and rebuilding a bathroom to reupholstering chairs.

Now, they’re on their second home, complete with baby and dog, and are just as busy as ever.  We caught up with Sherry to ask her how they manage to get it all done, how they even start to figure out how to do these crazy projects and what celebrity home they are dying to crash.

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New Dress a Day on the CBS Early Show

So excited for all the good things coming the way of Marisa at New Dress a Day!  Recently caught her on The Early Show showing off some of her favorite and best designs from her yearlong experiment.

Check out our interview with her from this summer where you can find a lot of her tips and tricks for being green and budget friendly, too.

Eleven Questions with Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the Editor in Chief of Make Magazine, the founder of the blog, Boing Boing and the author of a new book about his trials, triumphs and lessons learned with DIY projects, Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World.

A copy of Mark’s new book was sent our way – and we were instantly engulfed in both the creativity of his projects and his attitude towards DIY (mistakes are OK!).  His DIY journey started when he, his wife and two young daughters moved the remote Island of Raratonga, part of the Cook Islands, to literally get away from it all and enjoy a simpler, more direct lifestyle where they could forge a deeper connection and more rewarding sense of involvement with the world around them.

Mark and his family did return to the comforts of California about a year later, but not without lessons learned.  In the family’s time in Raratonga, Mark was inspired by the world and environment around him to adapt a DIY lifestyle. In the past few years he’s tackled gardening, keeping bees, building working guitars from cigar boxes, making yogurt and other food, and tutoring his daughter, amongst other projects. And, for those of you who have heard about my latest obsession with keeping chickens, Made by Hand is where I first got that idea.

Mark was kind enough to let us ask him a few questions about his new book and some of his recent DIY projects: [Read more...]

Eleven Questions for Crafty People: Marisa of New Dress a Day

The very crafty Marisa of New Dress a Day

You might remember our post from a few weeks ago on a fabulous blog find – New Dress a Day. LA-based, Marisa, wanting to get out of a creative slump designed an excellent DIY experiment: Using only $1 per day for a whole year, could she craft a new piece of clothing every day from a thrift store find with great potential? The answer is a resounding YES.  With 136 days to go, Marisa has already proved that brick-and-mortar stores ain’t got nothin’ on a girl armed with a strict budget and a sewing machine.

We talked to Marisa about how to find great potential pieces in your local thrift store, if she’s ruined against shopping forever and the one tool she can’t live without….

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What We Did This Week

Earlier this week, Lia and I met up with Jordan Reid, one of our favorite bloggers to talk about all things blogging, Internet and life related. We’re a little more than obsessed with her blog, Ramshackleglam. You’ll remember Jordan from her “11 Questions for Crafty People” a few months back.  Here’s a pic of our night out!

Eleven Questions for Crafty People: Kate of Centsational Girl

The Centsational Kate

Super talented? Check. Beautiful home in California wine country? Check. Totally adorable? Check. Kate of Centsational Girl goes three for three, and it’s why I’m just kind of obsessed with her!  I mean, her blog. Yes, that sounds less creepy…

In all seriousness, when Leslie of The DIY Diaries introduced us to Kate’s site, it quickly became one of our favorites because quite simply, she is incredibly creative.  Though she is very crafty with her smaller DIY projects (these paper mache eggs are a recent favorite), it’s Kate’s simple and easy furniture renovations and redecoration projects that keep us coming back.

Kate was kind enough to talk with us on how you too can cast a discerning eye on flea market finds, how she learned to refurbish, and  how she finds the time to do it all.

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